I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events! Stay warm this season!
Kristiane Events and Outreach Coordinator NOFA Organic Land Care and CT NOFA
Upcoming CT NOFA Events
Register for the Winter Conference before February 16 for the discount!
Visit us at a CSA Fair to learn more about joining one of Connecticut's CSA Farms to support local agriculture and receive delicious food in return.
Stay in the loop!
With CT NOFA:
With NOFA OLC
Choose an Accredited Professional!
Thinking about landscaping services for this summer? Whether you're looking for a garden consultant, lawn mowing service, or an organic makeover of your yard, choose one of NOFA's Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals.
Our professionals have taken an intensive course about organic principles and practices, take continuing education courses every year, and have agreed to follow the NOFA Standards in Organic Land Care. Who would choose those yellow warning signs over our new organic lawn care sign?
Connecticut Flower and Garden Show: Love in Bloom
February 21-24, 2013 10am
Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT
Roger Doiron, founder of Maine-based Kitchen Gardeners International will speak on March 21, 7:30 p.m., at Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Dr., West Hartford, hosted by the Connecticut Horticultural Society. Cost is $10 (free to CHS members and full-time students with ID). Information: www.cthort.org, 860-529-8713.
Apple Tree Grafting Workshop
March 23 2-4 p.m. at the Noah Webster House, 227 South Main St., West Hartford. The cost of $40 ($30 for CHS or Noah Webster House members) includes all materials. Reservations are required by March 8 and seating is limited. Tickets and information: 860-521-5362, ext. 12, or www.noahwebsterhouse.org.
2013 Symposium: Visual Lessons in Landscape Diversity
This 30-hour course for land care professionals and environmental educators provides a well-rounded curriculum for an understanding of organic land care principles, practices, design and maintenance. The curriculum is based on NOFA Standards For Organic Land Care , Practices for Design and Maintenance of Ecological Landscapes written by NOFA's Organic Land Care Committee. These Standards, published in 2001 and revised semi-annually, extend the vision and practices of organic agriculture to the care of landscapes where we live our daily lives and lands which we choose to steward. By the end of the course, attendees will be able to incorporate land care methods and materials that respect natural ecology and the long-term health of the environment into their businesses or education programs.
As consumer demand increases for organic lawn care services, now is the time to educate yourself! This one-day course will cover how pesticide and fertilizer runoff harms water quality, how to grow a beautiful lawn organically, and how to market organic services. Registration Fee: $80
One of primary goals of organic land care is to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. For that reason we must recognize the ways in which these substances can be harmful to our environment and all the creatures that live in it, even frogs!
New research according to this article by Damian Carrington in The Guardian has suggested that widely used pesticides can kill frogs within one hour. These pesticides are now being linked to the significant and rapid decline of amphibians worldwide (more than one third of all amphibians are considered endangered).
Many are alarmed that the doses approved by regulatory authorities could be so incredibly toxic and it is fueling the criticism about how pesticides are tested. Surprisingly, pesticides are not required to be tested on amphibians. A similar December article in The Guardian exposed how insecticide regulators were failing to acknowledge that a commonly used insecticide was causing a decline in bees and other pollinators.
This news comes at a urgent time when farmers and landscapers will begin preparing for the spring season and will soon apply these pesticides to their land. Spring is also the time when these species will begin migrating to ponds.
The NOFA Organic Land Care Program has also recently made the frog its mascot for our new Organic Lawn Care Campaign, making us exceptionally concerned about this new discovery.
This is yet another great reason to keep up the good work and maintain your lawns organically!
To find out more information about the effects of pesticides on frogs click here.
From the Blog:
Taking the Accreditation Course to the Mid-Atlantic
Land care professionals came from all over (even Alabama and Kentukcy!) to learn about Organic Land Care Practices at the 12th Annual Accreditation Course in Pennsylvania. Check out some pictures from the course below and get excited for the next Accreditation Course being offered February 11-14th in Norwich, CT!
The class visits Logan Square, designed and maintained by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Julie Snell (PHS) teaches about design of a large greenroof in Philadelphia
Julie Snell (PHS) introduces Altje Hoekstra to teach about hydrology
The class visits the PECO Green Roof - Notice how we are "Changing The Game"!
The Benefits of the Micro-clover
Once very common in lawns, the clover has slowly disappeared as people have used synthetic fertilizers for weed control, simultaneously killing clovers. Now, many organic lawn enthusiasts are pushing for clover, specifically the micro-clover to be reintroduced in lawns. Find out why!
The micro-clover can be used for many different applications such as sports fields, parks, road sides, home lawns, and extensive green areas in general. The micro-clover as the name implies, is essentially a tinier form of the most well-known white clover. Compare the two sizes below in this picture taken from Microclover.com.
When used with any modern grass seed varieties the micro- clover can create a beautiful green lawn all year round. This is because the micro-clover grows around the grass plants, feeding them nitrogen and essentially eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers. It is also very aggressive by filling the lawn quickly, reducing the presence of weeds and more importantly the use of herbicides! Herbicides if applied, would actually kill the micro-clover making the incentive not to use them even greater. The species can tolerate drought as well as shady wet conditions (but not too wet, the species does not do well if the area has been flooded for a long period).
If this hasn't already peaked your interest watch this video about the micro-clover benefits, provided by Good Nature Organic Lawn Care.
Hearty Winter Recipes
In our fall newsletter AOLCP and CT NOFA's President Bettylou Sandy gave tips for winter growing and listed foods that would grow and be good to eat throughout the winter such as root crops like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Garlic and Brussels sprouts are hardy enough that you can sometimes have a winter harvest. Now that winter is in full swing, we'd like to share some recipes that highlight these crops! Enjoy!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Ham and Garlic
1 (1 ounce) slice white bread
3 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup finely chopped country ham (about 1 ounce) (don't eat meat, this recipe is just as good without it!)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425°.
Place bread in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs on a baking sheet; bake at 425° for 5 minutes or until golden. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Set aside 3 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs, reserving remaining breadcrumbs for another use.
Combine sprouts and next 5 ingredients (sprouts through garlic) in a 3-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray, tossing to coat. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until sprouts are tender and lightly browned on edges, stirring twice.
Combine 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over sprouts. Serve immediately.
Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cup chopped pealed celeriac (celery root)
1 cup diced parsnip
1 cup diced parsnip
1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 tablespoon dried tarragon, divided
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Combine water, lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Remove lentils from heat, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celeriac, parsnip, carrot, and 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon, and sauté 10 minutes or until browned. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, tomato paste, and garlic; cook mixture 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in mustard. Add lentil mixture, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf, and stir in butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon, and pepper.
As spring approaches it isn't a bad idea to refresh your memory with all the ways you can maintain a healthy lawn and eliminate weeds organically. Below are some easy and simple tips that will prepare you for the warmer months ahead!
Mowing Height - Raise Your Blades
In general, bad mowing practices can cause many unwanted lawn problems. Mowing lower than 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches can damage root systems and also increases sunlight which in time increases weeds. Raising and sharpening your blades can help deter this problem.
Test Your Soil and Soil pH
After winter it is always a good idea to conduct a soil test to determine specific nutrient needs. It is important to also determine your soil's pH. Low pH means that your soil is too acidic and high pH indicates alkaline conditions which does not allow for your soil to properly absorb nutrients. Healthy soil generally has a pH between 6.5-7.0, or is slightly acidic.
Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for any lawn to be healthy. Grass clippings contain a good amount of nitrogen so after mowing just leave the clippings on your lawn and let nature do the work for you!
Compost, Compost, Compost (but not too much)!
Using compost is an essential part of organic lawn care and the best time to compost is in the spring. Spread 1/4 inch layer of organic or natural compost preferably after aerating your lawn. You can also use a compost tea or worm castings.
Ensure Good Watering Practices
Watering too much or too little can be a big invitation to weeds. Even though watering needs can be specific to the site, generally a deep watering once a week in the morning is all that is needed to properly hydrate your lawn. Also, once you establish a deep root system from mowing you eventually will need less water.
This newsletter is is publication of both the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut and the regional NOFA Organic Land Care Program and was compiled by CT NOFA's intern, Katie Kabot and edited by Kristiane Huber, the Events and Outreach Coordinator. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or information you would like to be included in future newsletters.